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Talent technology: what trends should HR embrace in 2021?

Today, technology plays a vital role in talent mapping, external workforce management and contingent worker deployment. The COVID19 pandemic has only accelerated this adoption of innovative tech to drive resource optimization and vendor management - ultimately delivering cost efficiency for businesses across the globe. The main driver of this was the increased reliance on the contingent or external workforce to balance the peaks and troughs in demand over the last 12 months.

However, that was last year. Looking ahead, there are encouraging signs of positivity from global economies as lockdown measures are eased and the vaccine roll-out gathers speed. But what does this mean for talent tech in 2021 and beyond?

Talent technology in 2021: the six top trends

To find out which tech trends will drive successful talent mapping over the next year, we carried out detailed research into tech stacks where we believe innovation, growth, and investment will be at its highest.

In our report - '6 talent tech trends for 2021 & beyond' - we identified a number of key trends that employers must adapt to in a COVID-hit environment:

  1. Testing and assessment in a remote world will continue to evolve: Testing and assessment tools have been around for some time now, but adapting these for a remote environment without impacting cultural fit identification, diversity numbers or the assessment of soft and transferrable skills will be crucial. A sophisticated approach that uses the advances in AI and automation to revolutionise testing will be needed in the new normal.
  2. Direct sourcing and freelance marketplace tech investment needed: As efficiency and cost-saving remains a high priority, more employers are looking to leverage their existing freelance contacts and build a bank of pre-identified candidates to engage quickly when required. As a result, we are expecting increased investment in direct sourcing and freelance marketplace technologies in the next 12 months.
  3. Data ownership shifting to the individual: With the accelerated pace of change in the contingent workforce, the traditional method of companies owning a worker’s personal identifiable information (PII) is no longer viable. We’re now seeing a shift to using blockchain technology to store compliance and vetting information, granting full ownership of this data to the individual.
  4. The continued rise of automation: The growth of automation will likely be fast-tracked in the coming year as repetitive and data-driven tasks are handled by tech and software, freeing up people’s valuable time and driving much-needed cost-efficiencies in tough economic times.
  5. The rise of the ‘citizen developer’: The pandemic has brought tech capabilities into almost every role. As a result, a revolution is underway. Business users with no coding experience are using tech tools to personalise and adapt systems and processes related to their role, without relying on IT departments.
  6. Employers will harness the true power of data and analytics: While historical data is already being used by some businesses to assess trends, 2021 will be the year that more organisations use data to predict the future and give a more detailed look into the ‘why’, not just the ‘what’.

Tech innovation

The last 12 months were a trying time for everyone, but there have been some positive developments in the world of work. Fluidity and agility are now more viable for global workforces and the rise of the contingent workforce has picked up significant pace. This is allowing (allows?) businesses to really embrace and benefit from the value that external workforces can bring to the table. But managing these flexible talent pools does require an investment in talent tech as Simon Blockley, Guidant Global’s own CEO, explains:

“There’s no doubt that reliance on the external workforce has increased in the last year as a result of the rapid changes brought about by the pandemic. However, for contingent talent engagement and management, technology innovation is essential. Many of the compliance and administrative tasks that are required when employing contingent workers can be managed more efficiently through automated tools. The globalisation and demands of workers also calls for better use of technology enhancements to optimise the work environment for the benefit of our teams - be it remote or in-person - so we certainly expect to see an uptick in talent tech investment in 2021 and beyond.”

“Better use of tech tools to ensure continuity, support and provide better insights for decision making, improve efficiencies, and reduce tactical work will deliver high-value engagement activity, strategic guidance, and improved relationship building. This, along with finding innovative ways to support candidate engagement, diversity and inclusion, and flexibility at work, will make all parties involved in the supply and engagement of contingent talent increasingly successful.”

Download your free copy of the '6 talent tech trends for 2021 & beyond' report today.

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